twnkls @ ISMAR
ISMAR 2012, the premier international conference on research into the science, technology, applications and uses of Mixed and Augmented Reality took place on November 5 – 8 at the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, at Georgia Tech’s Hotel and Conference Center. The most important AR suppliers were there, like Metaio, Qualcomm and ARtoolworks.
As a producer of Augmented Reality experiences, twnkls was present again at this year’s conference, and both Lex and myself made our way to Atlanta. Immediately on the first day, Lex came into action as we were given the opportunity to demo two of our solutions during the workshop ‘Tracking Methods and Applications’. The first solution being a recently by twnkls developed application called ‘Decolabs’ – an Augmented Interior Decorator -, and secondly the also by twnkls developed MarkerSLAM tracking system. Both technologies allow for augmentations that are based on 3D models to be shown on scale. Another distinguishing characteristic of these two techniques is that it allows us to project augmentations in an enlarged area (living room and larger) with small AR-markers. Usually the size of an augmentation is limited by the size of the marker, but in our systems we have disconnected these.
On the second day, keynote speaker Perry Hoberman gave us a chronological view in his inspiring exhibits and performances in which immersive virtual worlds take a central place. For more information see http://ismar.vgtc.org/ismar/2012/info/overview/ismar-conference-keynotes. Perry Hoberman’s by Star Trek inspired installation with which he simulated a galactic journey (‘Beam me up, Scotty’), was very amusing.
There were several sessions going on this day, all of them interesting. Lex liked the paper sessions about Rendering and Tracking very much, and for me the Poster Sessions and the Poster Fast Forward were spot on. At the latter, the PhD students were given a 30 seconds ‘elevator pitch’ to present the research they had done on their topic. In the evening during the ISMAR Banquet Hirokazu Kato and Mark Billinghurst received the ’10 year lasting impact award’ from Blair MacIntyre (Georgia Tech) and Greg Welch (University of Central Florida). Their first paper in which AR Marker Tracking was introduced is still the most cited paper. It has influenced many other researchers and till today we frequently see productions using the example marker with the text ‘Hiro’.
On Wednesday, day 3, we started early. At 8h30 we were hosting together with ARtoolworks a ‘Birds of a Feather’ session. After an introduction by Philip Lamb (CTO), who presented the roadmap of ARtoolkit, the stage was given to Lex to present our Decolabs application and the MarkerSLAM system extensively. This presentation ended with an open discussion about the areas of application and technical aspects of (Natural) Feature Tracing and SLAM systems.
The demos given on the ISMAR conference were very innovating. Various students, companies and suppliers were showing their expertise. We found the Sphero MR Engine (Ian Bernstein and Fabrizo Polo) very interesting, see http://www.gosphero.com/sphero-augmented-reality-has-arrived/. I’m leaving out the demos for localization, tracking, positioning, 4D objects, panoramas, etc. for now, as it would result in a long list.
On the 4th and the last day we started with paper sessions about SLAM. Again an interesting technique was presented, this time by Jonathan Ventura and Tobias Hollerer: Wide Area Scene Mapping. This session was followed by a paper session with the subject ‘Using Developmental Psychology to Guide Augmented Reality Design for Children’ by Iulian Radu, student of Blair MacIntyre. Being an interaction designer myself, I find it appealing that there is room at ISMAR for this type of research.
The closing keynote speech was by Shahram Izadi of Microsoft Research. He gave his audience some background information about the origins of input devices and the Kinect Fusion with which currently is being experimented. We found his metaphor of the HoloDesk and the HoloDeck inspiring and interesting.
With these references to Star Trek the circle has been completed again. Unfortunately Lex and I will travel back with Delta Airlines, and not the HoloDeck.
Finally, we would like to congratulate Yolande Kolstee and Wim van Eck (AR lab) with their public price for ‘The augmented painting’. The public chose this as their most beloved demo.
We are looking forward to ISMAR2013 in Australia!